Rev the Engine: Core & Hips


The lower body exercises we did in part one built a strong platform; now it’s time to transfer our energy up the kinetic chain to the core and hips … the engine of our golf swing.

The function of our core is threefold: to stabilize (keeping our posture and balance), transfer power (from the legs through the torso) and to resist external forces (slow down the club safely to not fall over). The exercises below have an emphasis on building stability and strength. Additionally, I’ve included the hips in this post as they work hand-in-hand with the core; strength and stability in the hips is essential for proper sequencing of an efficient, powerful swing.  

Ok, let’s get after it.

Front Plank

Start with your elbows directly below your shoulders while on your knees with your hips in line with your shoulders. While pushing your elbows into the ground, brace your abdominals and straighten your legs bringing your body into a straight line from heels to hips to shoulders.  Keep your neck neutral, eyes down and breathe. If you struggle, don’t worry, nearly everyone I work with can’t hold a plank for 30 second with good form.

  • Beginners 2 sets, 15 to 45 seconds | rest 1 minute (try from the knees if the exercise is too difficult)
  • Advanced 3 sets, 45 to 60 seconds | rest 30 seconds

Side Plank

Starting on your side place your elbow directly below your shoulder with your legs straight and feet stacked on top of each. Using your free hand push into the ground to help lift the hips up and bring your head back in line with your hips and heels. Your shoulders should be stacked on top of each other parallel to your hips (if this is too difficult start from the knees). The lateral version innervates a lot of spinal stabilizer muscles that get overlooked with flexion based exercises but are critical to good posture and core control. 

  • Beginners  2 sets, 15 to 45 seconds | rest 1 minute (try from the knees if the exercise is too difficult to do)
  • Advanced 2 sets, 1 minute | rest 30 seconds

Palov Press 

Anchor an exercise band at chest height when kneeling. On your knees, get to a point where the resistance is difficult to hold with your arms outstretched. Hook your toes to the floor in ankle dorsiflexion with your body perpendicular to the band. Get tall on your knees keeping your hips and shoulders parallel, hold the band in front and extend your arms completely straight pushing out in front of your sternum, count to two before bringing it back in. (There is a lot of rotational force generated, try and resist any movement in the out position.) Although golf is a rotary sport, this exercise stresses the obliques and adds strength and stability to the core in an isometric exercise.

  • Beginners 2 sets, 10 reps | rest 30 seconds between sets
  • Advanced 3 to 4 sets, 15 reps | rest 30 seconds between sets

Hip Complex

This exercise increases strength for internal and external hip rotation. When you first do this series start with five reps of each; as you master each move focus on the quality of movement (only your top leg should be moving).

Clam Shells: Lay on your side, knees bent at 90 degrees with the bottom of your feet in line with your spine. Lift the knee up and down without movement from the pelvis. 

Reverse Clam Shells: Keep your knees together and lift the foot up and down.

Floating Reverse Clam Shells: Lift your top knee to about fist width from the down knee, lower and lift the foot while keeping your knee in this position.

Floating Reverse Clam Shells With Hip Extension: With your thigh in line with your body, bring the knee in line with the upper hip and lift the foot while keeping your knee in this position.

  • Beginners 1 set, 5 to 10 reps | rest 1 minute between sets
  • Advanced 2 sets, 10 to 12 reps | rest 1 minute rest between sets

Stork Turns 

Standing up, hold on to something stationary with your arms outstretched (for beginners use a driver; for intermediates use a long stick; for advanced use nothing). Lift up one foot and place it behind the calf of the standing leg. With your upper body facing forward open your hips so your bent knee is facing to the side; rotate the knee around and across the standing leg to face the other direction. Keep your foot flat on the ground, head up and body as stable as you can. This exercise works balance as well as hip internal and external rotation.

  • Beginners 2 sets, 10 to 12 reps per leg | rest 1 minute between sets
  • Advanced 3 sets, 10 to 15 reps per leg | rest 30 seconds between sets

These articles are for informational purposes only, and William Brett or Pound Ridge Golf Club cannot be held responsible for any incident that occurs without direct supervision. Before starting an exercise regimen, make sure you are cleared for exercise by your doctor. If you experience pain during any part of any exercise, refer to a medical practitioner and resolve the issue before continuing.

William Brett is a good friend of Pound Ridge Golf Club and TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor who works with golfers of all ages and abilities. An avid, single digit handicap based in Manhattan, Will conducts golf fitness evaluations on location, at your home, gym or even on the golf course.  With data he gathers (which is compared to PGA averages), golfers receive a fitness handicap.  Also, the results from the evaluation identify any weaknesses that can cause swing faults. Through this information Will is able to design custom golf fitness programs catered to the individual, making them stronger, more flexible and a better golfer. 

Dec 8 09:57 AM
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